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An increasing number of people across the world are currently signing a petition

The text of the petition reads like this:

Dear friends,

Eight years ago as UK Prime Minister and chair of the G20, I tried to end the injustice of global tax havens. But as the “Paradise Papers” leak shows, trillions are still being siphoned off to dodge tax in the most shadowy places in the global economy.

It’s one of today’s greatest injustices, allowing the richest to stand aside while the rest of us pay for health, education, and protecting the most vulnerable.

But now we have a chance to stop it — through an international agreement that outlaws tax havens and imposes penalties and prison sentences on tax evaders. And the G20, the leaders of the world’s biggest economies, can make it happen.

Please join me in signing this open letter to Argentine President Mauricio Macri, chair of the G20 — if a million of us sign, I will personally deliver it to him, asking him and other G20 leaders to take urgent action to finish the job we began in 2009. Join with one click:

To President Mauricio Macri and all leaders of the G20:

The level of global inequality is appalling — 8 people own as much wealth as half the planet.

And the gap is growing, thanks in part to the shadowy world of tax havens which lets trillions be siphoned offshore from our economies Right now, the rich get richer, and the rest of us pay.

Eight years ago the G20 agreed it would shut down these practices. It’s time to deliver. We call on you to act immediately to end tax havens and ensure that those that run and exploit them are held to account.

Nobody should be able to evade their duty to pay tax for the public good. It is your responsibility to make that so. As citizens from around the world, we demand action.

Sincerely,

The G20 is the right home for this issue — and has already made real progress in forcing tax havens to clean up their act. So there’s already momentum, and now the Paradise Papers give us the chance we’ve been waiting for to finish the job.

[The website to sign the petition:]

G20: shut down tax havens!

As someone who was the target of Avaaz campaigns when I was Prime Minister, I can tell you that they make a powerful difference. This movement is driving forward the idealism of the world. This scandal gives us the chance to tackle one of the biggest challenges we face head-on — let’s not waste it.

With hope and determination,
Gordon Brown, with the Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION

Everything you need to know about the massive Paradise Papers leak (Vice)
https://news.vice.com/story/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-massive-paradise-papers-leak

Reaction around the world to release of Paradise Papers – live (The Guardian)
https://www.theguardian.com/news/live/2017/nov/06/reaction-around-world-release-paradise-papers-live

Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world (Oxfam)
https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-01-16/just-8-men-own-same-wealth-half-world

Avaaz is a 44-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
To contact Avaaz, please …  write to us at https://www.avaaz.org/en/contact/?footer or call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US).

As of November 14th at 8:21 a.m. EST USA,1,045,396 have signed. So let’s get to 1,500,000 or even higher, especially since the forces of oligarchy, of plutocracy, of control of global resources, of the fate of the world in the hands of a small number of people need to stop. Our politicians and ruling elites need to stop aiding and abetting such unconscionable patterns of wealth grabs and hiding of wealth offshore. …

Queen’s estate invested $13 million in offshore tax havens – Nov. 6, 2017

money.cnn.com/2017/11/06/news/queen-offshore-investments…/index.html

Nov 6, 2017 – … that the private estate of Queen Elizabeth II invested in offshore funds. … “so many others who have a pension, or an investment account,” he …

It’s not as if we people as a whole haven’t been taught “the score” concerning politics and power for a long period of time — indeed practically as long during which people have been on the Earth. This includes amongst primitive tribes living in caves long, long ago where the beginning, most rudimentary stages of politics formed.

In this vein, R. Dahl stated,”Political power is fragmented among many competing groups constantly negotiating to get their way.” (Pluralist)

For a later stage of human development, C. Mills shared, “Political power is concentrated in the hands of a small dominant group of business, government and military leaders.” (Power Elites)

Likewise, W. Domhoff wrote, “Political power is concentrated in the hands of the rich who own or control a large share of the nation’s economic resources.” (Class domination)

These sorts of arrangements are achieved by an overlapping corporate community, policy planning network and social upper class. (One can think of it as being sort of like an overlapping Venn diagram with three partly overlaid circles.)

If the arrangement is posed as a pyramid, one can picture the corporate rich, the executive branch of government and the military leaders in the upper tier at the top tip followed by lobbyists, legislators and local leaders in the middle section. They, in turn, are followed by the unorganized exploited masses at the bottom of the triangle who often rabble-rouse for crumbs of the economic and resource pie dropped down from the upper levels.

The disparity in wealth and access to wealth is simultaneously ridiculous and shocking. For example,

 Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett Own More Wealth Than the Entire Poorest Half of the US Population

-The Nation.

This comparable wealth that the threesome has involves160 million people. Put another way, 63 million households at the economic bottom of the US society are roughly equal money-wise.

Of course, domination, power and control involve much more than just money. Don’t take my word for it. Lots of children, women and men will attest that there is another angle to the matter besides a monetary one, One of these many people is Olympic metal winner, Aly Raisman, who glaringly points out this fact being the case.

Aly Raisman blames USA Gymnastics for sexual abuse by team doctor …

nypost.com/…/aly-raisman-blames-usa-gymnastics-for-sexual-abuse-by-team-doctor/

2 days ago – Aly Raisman reveals sexual abuse by Team USA doctor. Olympic … and began treating her when she was just 15, was providing medical care.

USA Gymnastics settled California sex-abuse complaint against Dr …

www.ocregister.com/…/usa-gymnastics-settled-california-sex-abuse-complaint-against…

Aug 15, 2017 – The confirmation of the settlement by the former Olympian is one of the … physician, also face civil suits in U.S. District Court by 115 women and …

Currently this particular medical doctor is in jail for having been involved with child pornography. There is no surprise in this proclivity of his to like looking at  photos of naked young girls after he sexually abused so many of them, is there?

In a similar slant, there seems to be no end to our species’s bid to have domination over whatever surrounds us:

Bosses control and sometimes abuse their workers.

Military troops control and dominate subjugated populations, including civilian ones, in wars.

Humankind has striven to control (and use up) resources since times immemorial.
Many people try to have authoritarian control over wives, children, friends, casual acquaintances and others.

Many more try to dominate the land and waterways around themselves.

Especially humanity has striven to control energy sources and all of nature, and with disastrous results relative to coming climate change factors, biodiversity losses, crop losses, water losses and many. many other sorts of losses too countless to list.

So is this the landscape that we want — a half dead, used up world with the sixth great extinction well underway while wars increase over dwindling remaining resource supplies? Do we want the losses and deprivation to be so stark that the 20 million people currently at risk to die due to starvation related causes look like a mere drop in the bucket, and coming materials and land conflicts make Rwanda’s conflict look like mere child’s play?

power-structure

As our world approaches between 11 to 15.8 billion people by century’s end, do people want to live in a world like this following description due to lacks of basic goods — ones crucial to stay alive?

The German siege of Leningrad lasted 900 days from September, 1941 to January, 1944. During that time 800,000 people, nearly a third of the population at the siege’s beginning, starved to death. Roughly one in three. Many of them in the streets.

Later in the account, it is written:

Writer Dmitri Likhachev looks back: ‘In time of famine people revealed themselves stripped of all trumpery. Some turned out marvellous, incomparable heroes. Others – scoundrels, villains, murderers, cannibals. There were no half measures.’

Note this timetable, kept in a pocket book by Tanya Savicheva: ‘28 December 1941 – Zhenya died. 25 January 1942 – Granny died. 17 March – Lyoka died. 13 April – Uncle Vasya died. 10 May – Uncle Lyosha died. 13 May at 7.30am – Mama died. The Savichevs are dead, everyone is dead. Only Tanya is left.’ Tanya was 12.

We don’t know what happened to her but we do know about Irina Bogdanova, who was eight and was left alone in the family flat when her mother, aunt and grandmother died one by one from dysentery in February, 1942.

She was found ten days later and handed in to an orphanage where she woke up to realise that the girl sharing her bed was dead. The days Irina spent along with her dead family were a total blank.

Yet further into the narrative, it is written:

Pet owners swapped cats in order to avoid eating their own. There wasn’t a dog to be seen. Only the zoo preserved its star attractions, like ‘Beauty’ the hippopotamus, with special rations of hay.

People searched desperately for substitute food. Cottonseed cake (usually burned in ships’ boilers), ‘macaroni’ made from flax seed for cattle, ‘meat jelly’ produced from boiling bones and calf skins, ‘yeast soup’ from fermented sawdust, joiners’ glue boiled and jellified, toothpaste, cough mixture and cold cream – anything that contained calories. They even licked the dried paste off the wallpaper.

Finally toward the end in the report, it is written:

Of course there was a crime wave, mainly of adolescent muggers thieving food and ration cards. One 18-year-old killed his two younger brothers for their cards. Another murdered his granny with an axe and boiled her liver. A 17-year-old stole a corpse from a cemetery and put it through a mincer.

Rumours of cannibalism abounded. Amputated limbs disappeared from hospital theatres. Police records released years later showed that 2,000 people were arrested for cannibalism; 586 of them were executed for murdering their victims. Most people arrested however were women. Mothers smothered very young children to feed their older ones.- Taken from BEYOND HORROR: They ate cats, sawdust, wallpaper paste…even their own babies…

My own thinking is that certainly no sane person would want to do anything to bring about a nightmarish world like this one directly described above. Yet we all nibble away the world in many different ways beyond the amount that we need to do to live in the lifestyle that we want. Then assorted types of environmental ruin starts to set into place around us and assorted losses accrue for future times.

I don’t want to be a kill-joy or a downer. Yet with a world at around 7.5 billion people and still climbing much higher in number by century’s end, none of us can afford to live like kings and queens unless in the process, we want to largely destroy the natural world and ignore the have-nots.

It would be different were there only 100,000 people in the world, but this is not the case. So we have to cut back on lavishness in myriad ways like it or not.

So we need to reconsider our actions and choices like it or not. Except for the poorest of the poor, we all need to poste haste start working on fixing everything of major concern that seems to be going awry in the world as soon as possible. Especially we need to tame our individual and collective urge to have domination, power and control over everything else whether through war, lavish personal resource use that gobbles away the world or other means.

There are two kinds of power. “Power over” which is based in separation, domination, divisiveness and control and “power with” which creates connection, collaboration, alignment and unity. The choice we make will create what kind of world we live in. – Michael Stone

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.

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